Like, for instance, Scotland has a training centre. And no longer is it in a barn on a farm, where Melissa Coutts and Lynne Beattie had to make sure there was room to park the tractor.
The duo, which played a qualifying match here Tuesday at the $600,000 Fort Lauderdale Major, is planning on making a big splash down under when the Commonwealth Games get underway in Australia in April.
“Since it was announced, there’s been a huge growth in popularity in the sport in our country and I think people are starting to see what we’re doing even in the bad weather in Scotland,” Beattie said. “It’s going to raise the profile of the sport in our country and for us, it’s an opportunity to showcase us on the world stage. It’s the only chance Scottish people get to compete for Scotland in a multi-sport games so it’s massive for us.
“It was the first time Scottish volleyball has had any performance funding. It’s very little, but it helped us last year gain some points on the World Tour and compete in lots of different tournaments.”
Not even the fact that Coutts and Beattie were eliminated on Monday deters their optimism. They will stay and train throughout the week in South Florida, honing their skills as they aim for a medal in Australia. Including the FIVB World Tour and European events, Fort Lauderdale was the 19th event the team has entered.
“This is a preparation tournament for that,” said Coutts, who is still making her mark in the sport at 47. “We had a healthy competition today, shall we say, and we’re just going to play as many games as we can while we’re here.
“We have finally gotten an indoor facility. For about two years we’ve been training outside so it’s very different conditions for us. But we live on an island so we have beaches, which seems to surprise people. Edinburgh has beaches and we train there when we can. Usually the only thing that stops us is when the sand turns to ice and it’s too hard.”
That’s certainly not something they’ll have to worry about on the Gold Coast.
Scotland's Melissa Coutts (left) and Lynne Beattie